When the New England Patriots squared off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIV, more than 1.3 million people experienced the event through NBC’s live streaming video — a 50 percent increase over last year’s online viewership.
According to NBC’s press release, the stream also set Super Bowl records for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million).
While it was an impressive achievement for live streaming video, it was not without its challenges. As the game progressed, the overwhelming demand resulted in some online viewers experiencing time delays and other technical difficulties.
“NBC is great at streaming live events,” Ustream CTO Gyula Feher told The Daily Dot in an interview regarding the event. “They were the first to stream the Super Bowl in 2012. And, the Super Bowl is the ‘Everest’ of live events: Let’s remember that Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched television event ever. It’s likely that the peak load on the NBC livestream was similarly record-breaking.”
One of the biggest challenges in streaming a live event, however, is anticipating the bandwidth required, which can vary dramatically from one minute to the next. For example, during Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, the streams of keynote speeches by CEO Mark Benioff and Hilary Clinton drew record-setting audiences.
One way Ustream has addressed this challenge of being able to scale and anticipate required bandwidth is through a unique technology we developed called Software Defined content delivery network (CDN), or SD-CDN.
SD-CDN provides the ability to scale automatically without manual provisioning of resources, dynamically adding and removing edges and providers as demand requires. The system can leverage a combination of edge resources (e.g. CDN providers, transit lines, peering and ad-hoc edges, etc.) and instantly route traffic among those sources as needed. A built-in monitoring system evaluates in real time the performance and efficacy of each source and can make automatic adjustments as changing conditions require.
What does all this mean for the individual viewer? The best possible quality from beginning to end — and the ability to pre-empt issues that could disrupt the viewing experience.
Now that’s what we call a big win.
Learn about the best solution for your big event here.